Author Topic: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)  (Read 11941 times)

boy_bye

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Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« on: April 16, 2013, 08:48:52 AM »
this article is so sad -- a family that lived too close to the edge for too long is about to fall off.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/15/booming/when-a-house-is-just-a-house-and-family-means-home.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

here's to living small, saving up, and never having such regrets.

CNM

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2013, 09:11:26 AM »
The funny thing about this article was that they were living beyond their means but didn't seem to realize it.  (I.e. "...a still, small voice inside my head whispered all was not right.")

I am not a level 10 mustachian by any means, but I still have a budget and my husband and I review our household finances frequently.  There are no "small voices" in our home; we know what's coming in, what's going out, and we do the math. Anyway, I guess that I was mostly saddened that this came as such a surprise to the Reisner family.   

Forcus

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2013, 10:29:06 AM »
I have to say, at least the way it was written (assuming they don't have a bunch of dirty laundry), they also had been dealt a lot of bad hands. One of the least annoying articles on the wall of shame I've read lately, I felt more sad for them than judgy.

boy_bye

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2013, 10:31:10 AM »
i agree, forcus. the $20,000/year private school seems like it was their biggest mistake. that alone could have been the difference between making it through and not.

SwordGuy

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2013, 10:44:38 AM »
The funny thing about this article was that they were living beyond their means but didn't seem to realize it.  (I.e. "...a still, small voice inside my head whispered all was not right.")

It's not funny, it's pathetic.

There are no "small voices" in our home; we know what's coming in, what's going out, and we do the math.

I've never been able to understand why so many folks can't simply do this too.

the fixer

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2013, 10:49:34 AM »
Quote
My parents told me, “Be good, work hard and you’ll have more than we do.”

I think this is the cultural root of the problem. People tend to think that hard work and effort should be its own reward.

EDIT: that's a mis-use of the idiom. People think hard work should be all it takes to get ahead. It's definitely more complicated than that.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 11:08:35 AM by the fixer »

Jane

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2013, 11:11:04 AM »
I agree, sad. They seem to be taking ownership of their mistakes which seems to be a rarity in these types of stories. It also seems like a good cautionary tale for those early retirement naysayers who say to just find a career you enjoy so you don't have to give up luxuries. Stories like this prove that it is still wise to become more FI.

No Name Guy

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2013, 11:16:19 AM »

I've never been able to understand why so many folks can't simply do this too.

Math?  ;-)

Agree. Then again, to the complany-pants types, "math is hard", "I deserve it", "gimme, gimme, gimme" and they apparently actively choose to ignore the fact that resources are limited and priorities must be set, so they whip out the credit card, or take an interest only HELOC as these people did.

I Love Cake

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2013, 11:20:40 AM »
You reap what you sow. I am fairly certain his parents also taught him how to save money 'for a rainy day' but rather than doing that he spent it all on living (both needs and wants) when you continually do this, you will get into trouble at some point. What were they going to use for college-he wrote they hadn't saved for that. Or his daughters' future weddings (I have a feeling he would want to help pay for that)

I don't feel sorry for them. I'm glad they have a good attitude but I don't feel for them at all.

The folks I feel for are the ones that are drowning in medical bills, or some sort of accident that prevented someone from working and that began their downward spiral

Or people who are underemployed and cannot get ahead

But when people are intelligent, educated and gainfully employed and they spend all their dough on lunches out, buying stuff, sleep away camps EVERY summer, and then refinance? ouch

the fixer

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2013, 11:31:09 AM »
It's simple how he was going to pay for it all: the real estate market was obviously going to keep going up forever, so he could just keep taking out home equity loans to pay for college, weddings, etc.

Maybe part of the problem is people's lack of understanding of boom-and-bust cycles, specifically how to identify which of the two you're living in at any given time.

dragoncar

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2013, 12:04:27 PM »
He seems to have gotten a pretty good deal actually.  Many years living above his means, paid for by phantom housing equity, which he will not have to repay.  Meanwhile my tax dollars will balance the bank's write off.

psychomoustache

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2013, 12:26:49 PM »
But for the grace of God....
This could have been my husband and me - back in the 90's this was how we lived - educated people who glided along on appearances while deluding ourselves. It happens so easily -I for one won't throw the first stone at their stupidity, because it's like reading a cautionary tale that we just managed to escape ourselves...
And it is sad....

.22guy

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2013, 01:44:37 PM »
He seems to have gotten a pretty good deal actually.  Many years living above his means, paid for by phantom housing equity, which he will not have to repay.  Meanwhile my tax dollars will balance the bank's write off.

That's what I was thinking too.  But that is pretty common these days. (Geeze, I am turning into a grumpy old fart!)

dragoncar

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2013, 02:50:55 PM »
He seems to have gotten a pretty good deal actually.  Many years living above his means, paid for by phantom housing equity, which he will not have to repay.  Meanwhile my tax dollars will balance the bank's write off.

That's what I was thinking too.  But that is pretty common these days. (Geeze, I am turning into a grumpy old fart!)

Oh yeah I wasn't judging him in particular, more the whole system.

jrhampt

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2013, 10:36:26 AM »
"Maybe people will think we’re wrong for this, but we’ve decided to keep the girls in private school and send them to camp. If it comes down to losing the house or getting them an education we believe in, we’ve decided we’ll have to give up the house."

Still??  Wouldn't it make sense to at least cut out the summer camp??

avonlea

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2013, 11:58:18 AM »
He's 60 years old.  He will be almost 70 when his youngest starts college.   It's admirable that he wants to provide his children with a private education and wonderful camp memories, but that's $20,000/year that he can't afford to be spending...on anything.  I like his upbeat attitude towards the end of the article, though, about being thankful for the little things. 

pbkmaine

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2013, 12:14:19 PM »
This could be so many people I know. And yet they resist giving ANYTHING up, even if it means losing their house or never being able to retire. It is so frustrating. What a relief it was to move from New Jersey, the Capital of Consumerism, to Maine, home of Amy Dacyczyn, where going to thrift shops is considered a Good Time. 

Phoebe

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2013, 12:55:44 PM »
I thought I'd have a bit of a chuckle, but that just made me sad.

Pollyanna

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2013, 02:50:27 PM »
It is sad that it took so long for him to realize the error of their ways, but I think too he is continuing to make some poor spending choices given their situation. 

pbkmaine

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2013, 04:28:42 PM »
When I do retirement workshops, I say the following to parents: ask your children which option they would prefer: 1) private school, private university and you living with them when you retire or 2) public school, community college and 2 years of state university? 

How many kids would pick option 1?

Jamesqf

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2013, 05:18:54 PM »
It's admirable that he wants to provide his children with a private education and wonderful camp memories...

Just how wonderful are camp memories, though?  Never experienced "summer camp" myself, but from what I've heard at second-hand it's seldom a high point of anyone's childhood.

cats

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2013, 05:54:18 PM »
"Maybe people will think we’re wrong for this, but we’ve decided to keep the girls in private school and send them to camp. If it comes down to losing the house or getting them an education we believe in, we’ve decided we’ll have to give up the house."

Still??  Wouldn't it make sense to at least cut out the summer camp??

I would say that's debatable, depending on the house.  If there's no chance it's going to be worth $400k again in their lifetime, seems like maybe they should just declare bankruptcy, let the bank have the house back, and rent a 2-bedroom apartment somewhere, rather than desperately trying to pay off a mortgage on a property that is never going to reach the value of what they're paying for it.

Frankly, I blame whoever decided it was a smart idea to give an unemployed man and a social worker that kind of home equity loan.  If they'd been refused for the loan, it might have been a wake-up call and gotten them to start figuring out living within their means a little earlier on in the game.

expatartist

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2013, 06:49:31 PM »
Oh the burdens of being middle-class and white., having to keep up with the Rubins. Sounds pretty typical of many in his situation, however most of us know many who've had it worse.

This classic from the comments is one I plan to print out and stick above the grocery list on my fridge, so I don't buy fancy chocolate & beers every time we do the weekly shopping:

Quote
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield


AccidentalMiser

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2013, 06:56:41 PM »
Unfortunately, they seem to have taken the "Do what you love and the money will come" philosophy of life.  These "poor" folks simply didn't consider the potential ramificaitons of their choices.  If they were ten or twenty years older and had done everything that they did ten or twenty years sooner, everything would have worked out fine. 

The golden age of bullshit is over.  The rules have changed and we, the mustachians, must adapt to the times we live in.  We cannot spend every dime we make.  We cannot just buy whatever house, borrow against it over and over again and expect everything to work out.

I'm not saying that I have everything figured out (reference my journal), but I know that I need to max out my 401k every year and that I need a financial plan.  We (citizens of the world) can no longer just ignore the importance of properly managing our finances and hope that everything will turn out fine.

"The world has changed" as they say in the movies.  We must change with it.

odput

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2013, 07:54:39 PM »
I can't believe no one has mentioned their houses yet...multiple times they "turned a condo into a nice home" or "moved 4 years later".  You think they were moving into cheaper houses to save money for the girls camp/school?  He'll no, they were buying bigger and more expensive houses for themselves.

psychomoustache

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2013, 01:17:53 PM »
I just want to add
My parents sent me to camp every summer for eight weeks, up in Maine.
I still have nightmares...

Blindsquirrel

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2013, 08:22:42 PM »
  Well, he aired his dirty laundry and continues to make some very foolish choices with his money. At this stage of his life he is in rough shape.  I was really struck by the mean and snippy comments though. Yes, he did foolish things with his stash, however, do not kick the man when he his down. Yeesh, there are waaay too many mean people in the world.

gdborton

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2013, 08:24:31 AM »
Quote
do not kick the man when he his down

I disagree... people should be kicking the ever loving shit out of him.  The money issues that he is facing are by and large a cultural problem, and by not addressing it he is perpetuating it.  I've got no sympathy at all for these people that live the way that they do, and especially not the ones that refuse to change when they start to fail.

CNM

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2013, 10:51:16 AM »
  Well, he aired his dirty laundry and continues to make some very foolish choices with his money. At this stage of his life he is in rough shape.  I was really struck by the mean and snippy comments though. Yes, he did foolish things with his stash, however, do not kick the man when he his down. Yeesh, there are waaay too many mean people in the world.

Do you mean this thread or comments in the article itself?

Perhaps the meanness comes from the feeling of a complete lack of self-awareness of the people.  Of course, it was filtered through an editor and reporter, but what stood out to me was how blase they both seemed about their past financial failures and their current financial state.  I had the feeling that they were like, "Oops, we fucked that up even though we are intelligent and educated people.  I guess we should have looked at our finances more carefully.  Oh well, nothing we can do about it now."
That sort of thing doesn't play well with internet commentariat, who tend to throw a lot of punches for even the minutest of errors.

Jamesqf

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2013, 11:23:36 AM »
I had the feeling that they were like, "Oops, we fucked that up even though we are intelligent and educated people.  I guess we should have looked at our finances more carefully.  Oh well, nothing we can do about it now."
That sort of thing doesn't play well with internet commentariat, who tend to throw a lot of punches for even the minutest of errors.

Yeah.  Especially when those of us who didn't screw up our house buying are going to wind up carrying part of his load.

DocCyane

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2013, 06:50:27 PM »
This story sounds like one of many that we will be hearing as the Boomers race to retirement. I don't feel sorry for this individual or anyone in that generation. They had the best of everything from nearly free education to endless job opportunities and low cost housing. If they blew it, they need to pay the piper.

Dynasty

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #31 on: May 02, 2013, 10:36:39 AM »

Maybe part of the problem is people's lack of understanding of boom-and-bust cycles, specifically how to identify which of the two you're living in at any given time.

Its pretty safe to say most people know the difference between a boom and bust.  What most people don't know is when a boom is going to turn into a bust.


Jamesqf

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #32 on: May 02, 2013, 12:14:47 PM »
But you don't really need to know exactly when boom is going to turn to bust.  You just need to recognize that you are in a boom, and accepth that booms are always followed by busts.  How often did we hear "but this time is different!" in the last boom?

LivingOnLess

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Re: Anti-Mustachian Regrets (via NYT)
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2013, 09:07:42 AM »
It is a calamity of errors, one on top of the other, and I feel badly for him because he will probably need to work well beyond 65 and will still find a way to put his girls in private education.  Private education is what you make of it, public is just as good  and you get what you put into either system.   

What I didn't quite get is how he resorted to finding happiness, when all the material trappings of his life have left him.  Happiness is not a last resort thing, and happiness should not be bought.  God I'm just happy to wake up another day!  The rest is up to me as to how I make my day turn out and how I choose to either let things bother me or not.  Happiness is found within not through the swipe of a credit card, or the accumulation of things......